The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept premium processing requests on a rolling basis for certain immigrant petitions (Form I-140) for multinational executives/managers and for members of professions with advanced degrees or exceptional ability seeking a national interest waiver. Immigrant petitions (Form I-140) are filed by employers sponsoring employees and individuals for US permanent residency (the US green card).  This is the first implementation phase of the previously announced premium processing expansion.

Employers will be able to request premium processing (expedited adjudication based on a government filing fee) in a staggered approach for the newly-included categories, but note that this benefit applies only to cases filed on or before a specific date in 2021.

Premium Processing May Be Requested Beginning On: Case Type Filed On or Before
June 1, 2022 EB-1C Multinational Managers/Executives January 1, 2021
July 1, 2022 EB-1C Multinational Managers/Executives March 1, 2021
July 1, 2022 EB-2 National Interest Waivers June 1, 2021

Continue Reading Long Awaited Expansion of Expedited Processing: EB-1 and EB-2 Employment Cases

On April 27, 2022, the European Commission – the executive arm of the European Union – proposed the digitalization of the Schengen visa process. If implemented, the proposal would enable an online visa application platform and replace visa stickers in passports with a secure electronic status. Applicants may still need to visit consular posts to submit biometric data, such as fingerprints. Under the Commission’s proposal, Schengen Area member countries would have five years from the date of implementation to switch to the digitalized visa platform.

Continue Reading EU Moves Toward Digitalizing Schengen Visas

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new rule which permits certain noncitizen applicants to continue working without disruption while their requests for employment authorization are pending adjudication. Qualified individuals must have a pending Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization) and meet other criteria (timely filed, same employment category, received a Form I-797C notice) to continue working for up to 540 days from the expiration date stated on their Employment Authorization Documents (EADs or Forms I-766).

Continue Reading DHS Extends Work Permits for Approximately 18 Months, Immediately Affecting 87,000 Applicants

Effective May 9, 2022, the Taiwanese government will reduce the required quarantine period for all international arrivals from ten days to seven, followed by a seven-day self-health management period. The announcement from Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) is an incremental step toward normalizing international travel procedures. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Taiwan has barred most foreign nationals from entering the country.

Continue Reading Taiwan Shortens Post-Arrival Quarantine Period

On April 22, 2022, the Irish government announced an expansion of the eligibility criteria for the country’s multiple entry short stay visas. The changes mean that foreign nationals from all visa-required countries will now be eligible to apply for a five-year, multiple entry short stay visa.  The government’s announcement is intended to ease administrative burdens and facilitate multiple short-stay trips by visa-required nationals as the country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue Reading Ireland Expands Eligibility for Multiple Entry Short Stay Visas

The conflict in Ukraine has caused civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure. Since the Ukraine-Russia military crisis escalated two months ago, over 5.2 million Ukrainians have left their homeland as they seek safety and protection in neighboring countries and abroad.

With no visible end in sight to the military operation, the United States government has announced a new, first-of-its-kind humanitarian parole program called “Uniting for Ukraine (U4U).”

Continue Reading Landmark US Humanitarian Parole Program: “Uniting For Ukraine”

Over the past two months, approximately 5 million Ukrainians have departed their homeland due to the escalating military conflict with Russia. Poland has received the majority of these individuals—taking in more than 2.8 million people according to the latest estimate from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Provisions to Welcome Ukrainians
To support the country’s humanitarian response, the Polish government adopted a series of amendments to the country’s immigration laws, including changes directly related to the influx of Ukrainians. The changes are expected to provide increased flexibility for Ukrainian nationals in terms of residence permits, work authorization and access to public benefits. In addition, the Polish government set up a dedicated website for Ukrainian citizens that provides detailed help on a range of issues—from how to obtain a national identification number (known as a PESEL), access support services such as legal aid and medical care, and obtain a three-year temporary residence permit to how to navigate traffic rules, participate in cultural activities, and change the language of the keyboard on a smartphone.
Continue Reading Poland Expands Support for Ukrainians

On April 12, 2022, the Chilean government announced the implementation of a new framework to govern the country’s border restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The lowest level of the new framework, Alert Level 1, does not require foreign nationals seeking to enter Chile to submit their vaccination status for prior approval, though travelers may still submit this information voluntarily and are required to submit it to obtain a Pase de Movilidad (“Mobility Pass”). In adopting the new framework, the government aims to enable a more agile response to the pandemic, including through detection and containment of new variants of concern.

Continue Reading Chile Updates Framework for Pandemic-Related Border Restrictions

With the regular changes to the UK Right to Work (“RTW”) checks over the last year or so, employers may be forgiven for having lost track of what the latest requirements are.

As mentioned in our last blog on RTW checks (You’re Joking – Not Another One! Further Changes to the Right to Work check process | The Mobile Workforce), further changes to the process came into effect on 6 April 2022.

Current process as of 6 April 2022

Prior to an employee commencing work in the UK, an employer must undertake the RTW check through one of the following:

  1. a manual RTW check;
  2. using the services of an Identity Document Service Provider (“IDSP”) to complete the RTW check;
  3. though the Home Office online RTW check website.

For an employer who is used to completing a manual check, please note that the lists of acceptable documents have been changed.  The current lists can be found under Annex A of the Home Office guidance on RTW checks:

An employer’s guide to right to work checks (publishing.service.gov.uk)

The changes will primarily affect employers who have been used to undertaking the manual RTW check on an employee’s Biometric Residence Permit (“BRP”).  As of 6 April, BRPs are no longer on the list of acceptable documents.

Employers who have always undertaken the check on an individual’s BRP, must now use the Home Office’s online website to complete the RTW check:

  1. once the individual has their BRP and passport, they should go online to complete the form here: Prove your right to work to an employer – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk);
  2. this will generate a share code, now valid for 90 days (it used to be 30 days only), which the individual will need to provide to the employer to enable them to view the RTW through this site: View a job applicant’s right to work details – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk). Please note that the share code must start with a “W”.  If it starts with an “R” or “S”, it was generated for use by landlords or other users and cannot be used by an employer;
  3. on completion, this will generate confirmation of the individual’s RTW status. Employers should check that the photograph and details match the individual. This may be carried out either in person or by video call;
  4. if the details match the individual, the page should be downloaded and saved to evidence compliance by the employer. This must be saved for the duration of the employee’s employment plus two years afterwards.

If a valid check was completed before 6 April 2022, a retrospective check is not required.

You may have noticed we have mentioned the manual check, discussed the online check but completely skipped over the second option – the use of IDSPs.

Identity Service Providers

IDSPs that are licensed by the Home Office may be instructed by an employer to verify an individual’s RTW.  The IDSP will use an Identity Verification Technology (“IDVT”) to verify an individual’s identity on the basis of a digital copy of a physical document.

It sounds quite straightforward – the employer engages an IDSP, pays the IDSP fee and receives the RTW check evidence.  On 2 March, the Home Office helpfully published information about how the process will work: Digital identity certification for right to work, right to rent and criminal record checks – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Rather handily, there is a section on that page, which states it will be updated with the current list of licensed IDSPs……we are still waiting for this list to appear.

Looking back on our blog of 3 February 2022, we expressed scepticism that the use of IDVT would be fully operational by 6 April.  We even went so far as to end our blog with the prediction that the Covid-19 adjusted check process would be extended.

Extension of Covid-19 adjustment to RTW process – surprise!

Due to the pandemic, with the majority of the country suddenly working from home, the Home Office introduced a concession to the RTW check requirements.  Under the concession, employers are permitted to perform the check on the basis of copy or scanned documents.  Employers would not be required to see the original document under the concession.  This concession was due to on 6 April 2022 but has now been extended to 30 September 2022.

Conclusion

One day, there will be a list of IDSPs available for employers to use.  When that happens, employers should ensure that they do not simply pick one from the list.  We suggest that employers compare their service offerings, timescales and fees before selecting one, or more, that most suit(s) their needs.

In the meantime, we recommend that where possible, employers use the online checking process.  Unfortunately, until there are licensed IDSPs, manual checks will still have to be carried on some individuals such as British or Irish passport holders.

We will no doubt be writing another RTW blog with further changes and updates in due course.

On March 28, 2022, the Italian parliament approved a law creating a new “Digital Nomad” visa for remote workers from outside the European Union (EU). The government has thirty days to implement the law and to provide the operational details, including the required documents and application procedures. Once implemented, the new visa is expected to provide flexibility for non-EU nationals seeking to live and work in Italy without first obtaining sponsorship from an Italian employer. Italy’s adoption of a Digital Nomad visa follows the introduction of similar immigration pathways in Romania, Iceland, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries.

Continue Reading Italy Creates New “Digital Nomad” Visa